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NYAMI NYAMI

New Tutenkhamen

I Wish You Were Mine

    Nyami Nyami Records present a lost piece of Zimbabwean musical history: the only album from local legends the New Tutenkhamen, combining Jazz, Soul, Folk and Township rhythms. There are only 2 known copies of the original LP – this reissues make the music available again for the first time in over 40 years.

    The New Tutenkhamen included many stars of Zimbabwean township music: Elisha Josamu was an alumnus of the fabulously-named Hallelujah Chicken Run Band (alongside Thomas Mapfumo), and Green Jangano’s long-running Harare Mambos, and would later form Two Plus Two with bassist Christopher “Chex” Tavengwa. Jethro Shasha played the drums, and would arguably become the New Tutenkhamen’s most famous export, making continental waves working with likes of Salif Keita. Paul Sekerani played the rhythm guitar, with Amos Chatyoka on the organ, while the enigmatic Maggie Mbuli provided vocals and F. Manda played the sax. I Wish You Were Mine was recorded at Teal Records and was produced by Crispen Matema, a talented jazz drummer in his own right who had played drums on the all-time classic “Skokiaan”, and had backed Louis Armstrong on his 1960 Rhodesia visit. Combining the heavyweight producing talents of Matema and the writing chops of Josamu, the New Tutenkhamen band created an album showcasing various musical styles popular at the time.

    From the afro-jazz jam session aesthetics of “Tutenkhamen Theme”, “Big Brother Malcom” and “Forever Together”, to the almost Van Morrison-sounding “Sunday Morning”; from the upbeat rock ballad “True Love”, to the funk-infused dance song “Togetherness”; from the bouncy jazz exhortations to work hard in “Ane Nungo”, to the brassy, raunchy foot-stomper “Me & Dolly”. The title track “I Wish You Were Mine” is a ska-infused ballad that wouldn’t be out of place in post-war Birmingham, while the star of the show is “Joburg Bound”, itself a fast-paced rock piece with Motown undertones and funky guitar lines.


    Various Artists

    Music From Africa Vol. 2 Shangaan Traditional / Sotho Chant

      The 'Music From Africa' series' comprises two volumes of never-heard South African library music from the early 80s. They were recorded and produced by Johannesburg musician / producer Tom Mkhize and released then on vinyl only to be sent to TV and radio stations, as well as cinema productions (never commercially available). Traditional South African rhythms re-imagined, dubbed-out and disco-fied by this legendary producer! Each side of each volume is an A-side of the original LP's, the B-Sides were only 10/15 seconds loops of the tracks from A-sides designed as radio jingles and there was no interest in keeping them for the reissues. 

      Various Artists

      Music From Africa Vol. 1 Swazi Message / Big Band Bash

        The 'Music From Africa' series' comprises two volumes of never-heard South African library music from the early '80s. They were recorded and produced by Johannesburg musician/producer Tom Mkhize and released then on vinyl only to be sent to TV and radio stations, as well as cinema productions (never commercially available). Traditional South African rhythms re-imagined, dubbed-out and disco-fied by this legendary producer! Each side of each volume is an A-side of the original LPs, the B-sides were only 10/15 seconds loops of the tracks from A-Sides designed as radio jingles and there was no interest in keeping them for the reissues. 

        Following a trilogy of flawless releases, a tribute to the Zimbabwean songstress Chiwoniso, a reissue of some South African library music from the early 80’s, and a collab between the Mbira master Jacob Mafuleni & the French electro-funk producer Gary Gritness, Nyami Nyami drop another “off the beaten track” bomb with the debut LP of South African band BCUC (Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness).
        A stone’s throw from the church where Desmond Tutu organised the escape of the most wanted anti-Apartheid activists of Soweto, the BCUC band rehearses in a shipping container-turned-community restaurant, where their indomitable outspokenness echoes in a whole new way. Make no mistake, this buzzing township has lost none of the creative, rebellious energy it had when the “Rainbow Nation”, with its now less-than-vibrant colours, emerged twenty years ago. BCUC found its magic formula in 2013, when they folded a frenzied electric bass into the simple drum-and-vocals mix. And that’s the alchemy of “Africangungungu”, the name they’ve given to their “afropsychedelic” music. Their “incantations” in Zulu, Sotho and English and their funky modulations extend over twenty minutes in a whirlwind of sound reminiscent of Fela’s Afrobeat. Nguni rhythms mix with Tsonga rhythms, the whistles of Bhaca and Shona miners meet the traditional Imbomu horn, while ancestral war songs and Ngoma busuku (night song) choruses mingle with the soul music of singer Kgomotso and the raging rap of Jovi and Luja. “Yinde”, which opens “Our Truth”, means “the road”: a symbol of the distance left to cover towards a fairer South African society. Similarly, “Asazani” (“we don’t know one other”) pleads for a reconciling of all the components of the “Rainbow Nation”. BCUC’s willingness to look these social and identity questions in the face has already led to the banning of one song from their only self-produced EP, which points the finger at a national idol. But neither this event, nor the criticism to which they are exposed by their refusal to belong to a specific movement, can change their minds. “Music for the people by the people with the people” – a people they refuse to box into one community, to circumscribe to one skin colour.


        STAFF COMMENTS

        Patrick says: From the label that brought you the batshit Afro-cosmica of Zimba, comes a red hot modern Afro-beat banger served in three distinct slices. In time honoured fashion each side clocks in at the 20 minute mark, though there are more than enough twists in the tale to keep you on the edge of your dancing feet.


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